Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kirby's Adventure ~Dream 4~ Ice Cream Island's Game Mechanics

Hey!! It's been a while. Aside from some weird throat irritation, I'd say I had a pretty good week off.

Let's get this over with!


Ice Cream Island, a tropical resort of sorts, serves as second world that Kirby must visit. Upon review, there are some major changes from Vegetable Valley. Instead of four quick levels, we now have five stages, most of which have some real meat to them. Of course, there's an island motif to the levels, so you'd have to expect some swimming action.

By now, players will begin to have the gameplay of Adventure ingrained into their psyches. However, some of the game's best features arrive around here, and it's a great way to constantly keep things fresh. To be precise, Ice Cream Island introduces a good chunk of Adventure's innate patterns, and that's not to mention some of the best Copy Abilities in the whole game. Where should I start...

Right around the beginning of the first level, Kirby stumbles upon a cave and is welcomed by a Waddle Doo drifting down with the aid of a parasol. Whoever took the screenshot above is doing a pretty horrible job of swallowing it, but regardless, it has to be done. Why? Because doing so transforms you into...

Parasol Kirby!

Yes, there is an ability to wield an umbrella to beat up bad guys in a video game.

But you know something? It's something I never really thought of strange. I mean, sure, it's a Nintendo game, and that means you can have any kind of whimsical elements flying around. Nevertheless, I naturally just assumed it was a sign of Kirby's easygoing nature: courageous enough to embark on a journey, but not afraid to take it easy. To this day, I think of Parasol Kirby as my favorite symbol of the character.
Plus, it just kicks ass for the following reasons.

HuurRAAGGHH!!! Look at how hard he swings that thing! That Hot Head doesn't stand a chance. By the way, notice those coconuts? They're actually explosive, and they fall right when you step under them. How does one avoid this problem?

Simple. Shield yourself with a parasol. It explodes automatically on the cover without a scratch.

And this is my favorite part. If you puff up to the top of the screen, this happens:

You slowly...gently...lightly...quietly hover down to the ground. I don't know why I love this so much, considering that it only lasts for a few seconds. It just soothes me, I suppose. Thankfully, the Parasol appears in nearly every platforming Kirby title since Adventure, so I can always count on a moment's worth of bliss.

What else? Oh, right, in the second stage we come across one of Adventure's many quirks. After a lovely cinematic with Kirby riding his Warpstar to a desert island, you come across this scene.

It's some sort of barrier staircase that imprisons three baddies. See, this is actually the game giving you the recommended powers to use against the upcoming mini-boss, in case you don't have an ability or if you're in the mood for a switch. It's pretty useful.


Hmm...a wheel boss, huh? I wonder what kind of ability it'll yield.

WHEEL KIRBY!!! VRROOOOOMMM! It's so satisfying to accelerate through the ramps and over bad guys.

With the arrival of Wheel Kirby comes an interesting trend. Nearly every time Kirby transforms into a wheel, the level adapts to it and is suddenly full of ramps and turns. This way, the normal platforming design won't get in the way and you can just kick back and watch the magic happen. A classic sign of Nintendo looking out for the player.

On the flipside, however, this is something that happens a lot with the more unique powers, and unfortunately for Adventure it's not always executed well. Every now and then, you'll get an ability such as Wheel that doesn't come up too often, and you'll often want to spend time with it. However, while there are accommodations made for these transformations, it doesn't last for very long. Right after you complete the level above, for example, it suddenly reverts back into the normal level design and as such it's nearly impossible to use. It doesn't always happen, and it's not such a big deal considering how every other ability is immensely fun to use, but it's worth noticing.

So after that road-rage filled stage, you traverse through an underwater cavern. It's full of Sword Knights, Bronto Burts, spikes, and thin passageways. I actually still find this tricky, since dammit it all those Burts often find it hilarious to stalk you wherever you go. When you finally make your way out...

Huh, who's that...?

Uh oh.

Yikes, a swarm of knights!!

As much as I've memorized the level designs by now, more often then not do I forget about these ambushes. After the masked knight leaves, his entourage of axe wielding, mace swinging, trident throwing minions pop up one by one and attack you. It's always troublesome.

The thing is, these guys are actually kinda tough. Depending on your ability, they can take two hits to kill, and chances are right after your first move they'll intercept immediately and slash at you, causing you to lose your power. Thanks to the claustrophobic battlefield, you're scrambling all over to place to nab it back before it disappears, and I often don't get it back in time. For this reason, it's best to fight these guys via two ways:

1. Use a power that deals more damage then usual (We'll go over those bad boys in the next post!). That way, you can beat these bozos without a problem.

2. Actually, it's best not to use an ability at all. Your safest bet is to swallow one of the knights up and spit him right at another. Two birds with one stone! who was that masked knight, anyway? We'll find out later.

So after that, we have a brief venture in the clouds...

And we head through the mangroves, in which we discover Kirby's radical Tornado ability.

Brrwwwwzzzz! Hard to control, but it's well worth it.

After ripping through that stage, it's time to face the boss of Ice Cream Island: Paint Roller.

Oh boy, a crazy artist on roller skates.

Alright, then. Paint Roller's manner of defense is scooting around his studio and situate himself by one of his easels. Sounds easy, but his shtick is that whatever he scribbles comes to life!

He conjured up a thundercloud! Watch out!

Obviously, you have to keep your distance. However, it eventually becomes clear you have to take a risk in approaching him. After he scribbles a drawing, he doesn't stick around for long, and he's hopping all over the room before situating himself at another easel. His wall jump is especially nasty and catches unsuspecting players (read: me) off guard. The best time to strike is when he's drawing.

Watch out for the fake Waddle Dees! Interestingly, some of his drawings might give you an ability...

Eventually, he goes down and gives up another shard of the Star Rod. Happy dance time!

So that's it for Ice Cream Island. If you're interested, you can check out the world in its entirety via this link.


Sooo...what's next?

To make up for lost time, I'm aiming to quickly wrap up Kirby's Adventure by the middle of November (the 15th, I'd imagine). However, this might clash with my eventual review of Epic Yarn...both will happen, so sit tight.

Hey! Speaking of Epic Yarn...for your listening pleasure, a remix of the Ice Cream Island music found in the game!

I think I'm falling in love with Kirby all over again.

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